The Indianapolis Colts enter the 2010 season with two things in mind: avoid a Super Bowl hangover, and do whatever it takes to return back to the big game that escaped their grasp at the end of last season.
Peyton Manning and Co. will be clicking on all cylinders, per usual, so there isn't much to worry about in the fantasy realm. However, any questions you might have regarding the Colts in fantasy football should be answered right here.
Read on for our top five fantasy predictions for the 2010 Indianapolis Colts:
1. Expect the Same Usual Greatness Out of Manning
Manning has passed for under 4,000 yards just twice in his entire career, and has topped 30+ passing touchdowns in three of the past four seasons. He hasn't come close to his magical 49-touchdown season that he posted back in 2004, but his consistent production is hard to top, let alone match.
Despite being 34, Manning shows no signs of slowing down, and still resides behind one of the best pass-protecting offensive lines in football, while possessing a slew of talented offensive weapons.
Another 4,000+ yard and 30+ touchdown season is in order.
2. Austin Collie's Role Will Get Bigger
With the return of a healthy Anthony Gonzalez, many are looking for Collie's targets to drop suddenly in 2010, but we actually see mini-Gonzo as more of an outside player, rather than a guy working in the slot.
Either way, Collie already has the slot role close to mastered after a successful 2009 campaign, and has reportedly been working on the other two receiver spots, making him more versatile and well-versed in the offense. His knowledge of the game and great skill-set makes him more valuable than either Gonzalez or Pierre Garcon, so we don't view Collie as the guy who takes a production hit.
It's not the popular pick, but if anything, Collie's numbers should rise in 2010.
3. Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark Are Still Targets 1 and 2
This isn't that bold of a prediction, but with Anthony Gonzalez returning (see: Austin Collie), there is slight worry by fantasy owners that it could spell doom (sort of) for either Wayne or Clark.
We say nay, and we think both the number one receiver and stud tight end will continue to impress as Peyton Manning's top two targets. The return of Gonzalez will likely mean both of them can't record 100 receptions like they did in 2009, but there's still a good shot at 1,000+ yards and 10 scores for both players.
4. Stop Doubting Joseph Addai
We keep hearing about all of this chatter about Donald Brown working into a bigger role in 2010, but we're not buying it. More importantly, we just don't see how it's going to be possible.
The Colts both love to and are good at throwing the ball, and when they do run the ball, Joseph Addai has continued to delay getting passed up by a youngster, as he simply keeps scoring touchdowns and picking up blitzes on passing downs.
Addai will never be a legit threat to put up Edgerrin James-type numbers, but he's always a red-zone threat, and should remain a consistent weapon on third downs and in the passing game.
We don't doubt that Indy starts to check in more on their 2009 second-round investment, but that doesn't mean Addai's value should dip any, if at all.
5. Anthony Gonzalez Will Be an Effective WR3
This is probably saying more about Peyton Manning and the Colts' disgusting passing attack, but we also think Gonzalez will have a chip on his shoulder after missing just about all of 2009.
It'll be hard for him to unseat either Garcon or Collie, and he may never fully pull it off, but that doesn't necessarily mean he can't be a solid fantasy weapon in 2010.
Any injury to the receiving corps would immediately thrust him into heavy action, and even if he's the fourth option, we still think he could make an impact worth monitoring. After all, when a receiver is your fourth option, opposing defenses will have their hands overflowing with responsibility when the Colts come out in four-receiver sets.
Don't expect anywhere close to a break-out season, but matching his 2008 numbers could still be a realistic goal.
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